Forwarded by Negativland.
> Anti-Copy Bill Hits D.C.
>By Declan McCullagh
> 2:00 a.m. March 22, 2002 PST
> WASHINGTON -- Sen. Fritz Hollings has fired the first shot in the next
>legal battle over Internet piracy.
> The Democratic senator from South Carolina finally has introduced his
>copy protection legislation, ending over six months of anticipation and
>sharpening what has become a heated debate between Hollywood and Silicon
> The bill, called the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion
>Act (CBDTPA), prohibits the sale or distribution of nearly any kind of
>electronic device -- unless that device includes copy-protection standards
>to be set by the federal government.
> Translation: Future MP3 players, PCs and handheld computers will no
>longer let you make all the copies you want.
> "A lack of security has enabled significant copyright piracy, which
>drains America's content industries to the tune of billions of dollars
>every year," Hollings, the powerful chairman of the Senate Commerce
>committee, said in a statement on Thursday.
> Hollings said that "any device that can legitimately play, copy or
>electronically transmit one or more categories of media also can be
>misused for illegal copyright infringement, unless special protection
>technologies are incorporated."
> That's precisely why Hollings and the five senators who joined him want
>to embed copy-protection controls in all PCs and consumer electronic
>devices. Devices manufactured before the law takes effect can be resold
> Once known as the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act, the
>newly named CBDTPA says that all "digital media devices" sold in the
>United States or shipped across state lines must include copy-protection
>mechanisms to be defined by the Federal Communications Commission.
> "Digital media device" is defined in a breathtakingly broad way: Any
>hardware or software that reproduces, displays or "retrieves or accesses"
>any kind of copyrighted work.
> Outcry from programmers already matches the protests heard during the era
>of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. And Silicon Valley lobbyists, who
>have objected to earlier versions of the CBDTPA, denounced it again on
> "We don't think this will help consumers use technology to enjoy movies
>or other content more," said Rhett Dawson, the president of the
>Information Technology Industry Council. "If it were enacted it could
>stand in the way of consumers enjoying the benefits of innovation by
>having the government make decisions that are best left to the
> Hollings' long-awaited introduction of his CBDTPA bill follows hearings
>before the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees, which highlighted the
>sharp rift between Silicon Valley, which advocates a laissez faire
>approach, and the Hollywood firms lobbying Congress to step in to prevent
> Joining Hollings as co-sponsors of the CBDTPA are one Republican and four
>Democrats: Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), John Breaux
>(D-Louisana) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California). At a hearing last week,
>Feinstein showed her colleagues a pirated movie that she said an aide had
>downloaded from a file-trading service.
> The entertainment industry desperately wants this bill, a version of
>which Disney and News Corp. endorsed as far back as last summer. But the
>Sept. 11 terrorist attacks snarled Congress' usual schedule, and only now
>has Capitol Hill's attention returned to online piracy.
> On Thursday, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording
>Industry Association of America hailed the CBDTPA as the only way to
>prevent the continuing Napsterization of their businesses. MPAA's Jack
>Valenti said the measure will "serve the long-term interests of
>consumers," while RIAA's Hilary Rosen predicted that without it, "online
>piracy will continue to proliferate and spin further out of control."
> The FCC would have a year from the date the president signs the CBDTPA to
>decide whether representatives of "digital media device manufacturers,
>consumer groups and copyright owners" have reached a reasonable compromise
>on copy protection standards. These standards have to comply with
>guidelines set by CBDTPA, including being reliable, resistant to attack,
>upgradable and not too expensive.
> As an incentive for the negotiators to reach a deal, the FCC is required
>to send an interim progress report to Congress six months after the law is
>enacted, while talks are still underway. After one year has elapsed, if
>the FCC concludes a reasonable agreement has been reached, the agency will
>approve the standards and give them the force of law. Otherwise the FCC
>will come up with its own regulations.
> One bright spot for free software advocates: Any software that implements
>the standards must be "based on open source code." Hardware
>copy-protection schemes can remain proprietary.
> The CBDTPA does say the final "encoding rules" should take into account
>fair-use rights, such as making backup copies or reproducing short
>excerpts from books, songs or movies. Copies of TV broadcasts made for
>one-time personal use at home are also permitted.
> But the CBDTPA also says that with those two exceptions, owners of
>digital content can encode their "directions" for use, copying and
> Anyone intentionally violating the CBDTPA would be subject to civil and
>criminal penalties, including prison terms.
> DANIEL J LYNCH
> Partner, Creative Director
> Sp3d, Inc.
> Media Design & Production
> (415) 864-3302 - VOX
> (415) 864-3402 - FAX
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